GREELEY, Colo. – In an effort to strengthen its capital structure, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation plans to begin a rights offering for up to approximately 44.44 million shares of common stock to its stockholders.

Each stockholder of record, under the expected rights offering, would receive at no charge non-transferable rights to purchase shares of Pilgrim's Pride common stock at a subscription price of $4.50 per share. This represents a 5 percent discount on the last 60 trading days' weighted average, for aggregate gross proceeds to the company of $200 million.

The company said its stockholders can purchase their respective pro rata portions of the shares offered based on their ownership as of the record date for the rights offering. “Stockholders who fully exercise their rights will be entitled to subscribe for and purchase, subject to certain limitations and subject to allotment, additional shares that remain unsubscribed for as a result of any unexercised rights,” the company said.

Pilgrim’s majority stockholder, JBS USA Holdings Inc., said it intends to purchase from the company, at the subscription price, its pro rata share of the common stock to be offered and any unsubscribed for shares of common stock such that gross proceeds to Pilgrim's Pride of the offering will be $200 million.

The expiration of the rights offering is expected to occur during the first quarter of 2012.